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J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Oct;16(10):1117-23. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0574. Epub 2010 Sep 28.

The Vanguard Faculty program: research training for complementary and alternative medicine faculty.

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Helfgott Research Institute, National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR 97201, USA.



The increasing use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment is paralleled by a growing demand for an evidence-based approach to CAM practice. In 2007, the Helfgott Research Institute at the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), in partnership with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), both in Portland, OR, began a National Institutes of Health-funded initiative to increase the quality and quantity of evidence-based medicine (EBM) content in the curricula at NCNM.


One key strategy of the Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program (R-CAMP) initiative was to create a faculty development program that included four components: intensive training in EBM; professional skills enhancement; peer and mentored support; and, ultimately, utilization of these skills to incorporate EBM into the curricula. This initiative is centered on a core group of faculty at NCNM, called the Vanguard Faculty, who receives early, intensive training in EBM and works to incorporate this training into classes. Training consists of an intensive, week-long course, monthly group meetings, and periodic individualized meetings. Vanguard Faculty members also receive mentorship and access to resources to pursue individualized faculty development, research or scholarly activities.


Early evaluations indicate that this effort has been successful in increasing EBM content in the curricula at NCNM. This article describes the Vanguard Faculty program in an effort to share the successes and challenges of implementing a wide-ranging faculty development and curricular initiative at a complementary and alternative medicine institution.

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